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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

Chatham to my Father. There I had a donkey to
ride on which was kept in the barracks and all was
well until the soldier servant gave her oatmeal that
had not been soaked and she swelled up and burst
and I was very sad.
Life at Chatham was not pleasant.   My Grand-
mother arrived and then there was one perpetual
argument as to how I was to be brought up, violent
arguments that nearly came to blows; one particu-
larly awful moment when I locked myself into the
W.C. and the battle raged in the passage outside.
There was a picture of Lord Nelson when young, a
coloured plate from the Illustrated London News, on
the wall that I had to gaze at trembling.   I think I
could draw that picture now.    The only friendly
person in the house was the soldier servant whom
I would grab whenever he came into the nursery
and tie him to a chair with a skipping rope.    My
Father was selfish and bad-tempered and beat me.
I must admit that I was a dreadful child but I
think he rather overdid it.   He had a bag of bam-
boo canes which were sent to him from India,
If I had behaved badly during the morning I was
locked into his dressing-room to wait for him to
come home.   How I hate still the smell of shaving
soap and pomade.   When he arrived, he made a
noise like a hungry lion, took the bag of canes, and
tried each one out on his hand to see which was the
most effective, then as I skipped about and screamed
he would cut me on the legs or anywhere he could.
I had to go to bed on one occasion as my legs were
cut and bleeding; such was the Spartan upbringing
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